ENID, Okla. —
Laurels and darts as we count down the days to the Oklahoma (Louisiana Tech) and Oklahoma State (Florida State) football openers on Aug. 30.
• Laurel to Medford for the hiring of veteran Andy Claborn.
It’s good to see coaches who are 60 and over still on the sidelines where they can pass on their knowledge to the next generation.
Claborn has the gift of being able to communicate with players who are young enough to be his grandson.
Claborn has won at every school he’s coached at and there’s no reason to not believe Medford will be an exception.
It will be a challenge — numbers are down. The Cardinals are 1-19 over the last two seasons.
But Medford should benefit from going down to Class C from District B-1, which can be almost like a suicide mission for a young team like the Cardinals.
The Cardinals were one of the dominant teams in the 1990s and early 2000s under coach Chuck Goodner. Every school has a down period where the talent drops.
Another bit of good news is Seiling’s Bruce Hendrickson, the state’s all-time winingest coach will be back. He’s hungry after a 5-5 season in which the Wildcats did not reach the playoffs.
Covering people like Hendrickson and Claborn are one of the joys of writing about high school football. They love their work and it shows on the field.
• Laurel to Pioneer for the hiring of Gus Overstreet, who played on the last Mustangs team to reach the state finals.
Overstreet is a part of what could be called the first family of Pioneer football and his fiery spirit and leadership were evident during his playing days.
Following tradition can be good business. Pioneer struck gold in baseball coach Dave Riesen, an alumnus who has the Mustangs in the state tournament almost every year. No one may appreciate that tradition more than Overstreet, who grew up with it.
Overstreet does face a major challenge trying to win in District B-1, which lives up to its hype of being the toughest district in eight-man, but PHS should benefit from being the second-largest eight-man (according to 2013-14 ADM figures) school in the state.
• Laurel to Oklahoma Bible Academy for joining the Three Rivers Conference, which may be basketball’s equalvent to District B-1 in football.
The Trojans are joining a league that includes Okarche, Thomas, Cashion, Hennessey, Watonga, Okeene and Crescent.
Okarche won last year’s Class B title after taking the Class A crown the year before. Hennessey and Thomas’ girls reached state as did the Okeene and Thomas boys.
The move may not help OBA’s regular season record, but it certainly will prepare the Trojans for the playoffs. New girls coach Kelli Jennings appears to be a solid hire.
OBA, to its credit, has always played a tough schedule.
How many girls teams can say that it played the Class B (Okarche), Class A (Pond Creek-Hunter) and Class 3A (Alva) state champions?
• Dart to the NCAA for the late scheduling of Oklahoma State’s games in the Super Regional (8:30 p.m., 9 p.m. and 8 p.m.) — To the credit of OSU fans, all the games were sold out, but how many fans — especially children — still were up at the end of the games?
It certainly hurts local media coverage (newspapers do have deadlines and it’s too late to get the final on the 10 p.m. News).
One reason for it no doubt were the all the upsets of the top seeds (nine of 16 seeds failed to make the Super Regionals). OSU was one of the teams furthest west, thus given the later TV times.
Speaking of baseball, do you think Oklahoma regrets firing Ray Hayward, maybe the greatest Sooner of all-time as its pitching coach a few years ago? Texas Tech, his new employer, is headed to its first-ever College World Series, while OU is watching from afar.
Campbell is a News & Eagle sports writer.